Preclinical investigation of Pegylated arginase 1 as a treatment for retina and brain injury.

Fouda, A. Y., W. Eldahshan, Z. Xu, T. Lemtalsi, E. shosha, S. A. Zaidi, A. A. Abdelrahman, P. N. - M. Cheng, P. S. Narayanan, W. R. Caldwell, et al., "Preclinical investigation of Pegylated arginase 1 as a treatment for retina and brain injury.", Experimental neurology, vol. 348, pp. 113923, 2022.


Arginase 1 (A1) is the enzyme that hydrolyzes the amino acid, L-arginine, to ornithine and urea. We have previously shown that A1 deletion worsens retinal ischemic injury, suggesting a protective role of A1. In this translational study, we aimed to study the utility of systemic pegylated A1 (PEG-A1, recombinant human arginase linked to polyethylene glycol) treatment in mouse models of acute retinal and brain injury. Cohorts of WT mice were subjected to retinal ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, traumatic optic neuropathy (TON) or brain cerebral ischemia via middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and treated with intraperitoneal injections of PEG-A1 or vehicle (PEG only). Drug penetration into retina and brain tissues was measured by western blotting and immunolabeling for PEG. Neuroprotection was measured in a blinded fashion by quantitation of NeuN (neuronal marker) immunolabeling of retina flat-mounts and brain infarct area using triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining. Furthermore, ex vivo retina explants and in vitro retina neuron cultures were subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) followed by reoxygenation (R) and treated with PEG-A1. PEG-A1 given systemically did not cross the intact blood-retina/brain barriers in sham controls but reached the retina and brain after injury. PEG-A1 provided neuroprotection after retinal IR injury, TON and cerebral ischemia. PEG-A1 treatment was also neuroprotective in retina explants subjected to OGD/R but did not improve survival in retinal neuronal cultures exposed to OGD/R. In summary, systemic PEG-A1 administration is neuroprotective and provides an excellent route to deliver the drug to the retina and the brain after acute injury.